Category Archives: Features

TikTok takeover: Maine South students find success and fame on a popular app

By Chloe Clark, Features Writer

Truckenbrod’s TikTok setup, including a ring light and her phone, allows her to produce content for her 58.4K followers. On her account, “tiktoktaylorofficial,” she connects with her following through theatre and music-related TikToks. (Photo courtesy Taylor Truckenbrod)

Within the past few years, TikTok has become a teen sensation. While TikTok is a mindless source of entertainment for many high school students, a select few at Maine South have developed a prominent public image on the platform, developing both valuable connections and opportunities along the way.

Junior Adriana Trippiedi didn’t set out with the goal of attaining thousands of followers.

“I downloaded it as a joke at first since everyone was using it,” Trippiedi said. 

However, Trippiedi’s motives changed when her videos began to take off and her following grew to 40.4k. 

Continue reading

Unprecedented times call for the need to address mental health

(Illustration by Isabel Gibson)

By Athena Demeros, Features Writer

During the pandemic, physical health has monopolized people’s attention; however, the emotional consequences of the Coronavirus are equally important to students and faculty at Maine South. 

Maine South social worker Mr. Steve Mihalopoulos recognizes there are specific reasons for an increase in stress.

“Because of the current circumstances, many students aren’t able to access the coping strategies they typically would or do things that would normally contribute to positive mental health, like spending time with friends and family, going to the gym to exercise, participating in extracurricular activities,” Mr. Mihalopoulos said.  Continue reading

Unmasking the faces behind student-run mask businesses

By Merisa Kraja, Features Writer

In an attempt to fight Covid-19, some Maine South students have taken safety matters into their own hands by starting their own mask companies. These students are motivated by a variety of factors, from improving mask fit, to donating profits to charity, to promoting a healthier community. 

Tannous models her most commonly bought mask, The Original. She holds her other designs, The Aerodynamic on her left hand and The Surgeon on her right. (Photo courtesy Leila Tannous)

Junior Leila Tannous, along with her younger brother, started a mask-selling website,, over the summer to redirect her free time towards fulfilling the need she saw for public safety.

“My brother and I were encouraged to help the community and have something to do during quarantine,” Tannous said. “We wanted to provide what we could in COVID-19 prevention… and also wanted to collaborate on a project for the experience.”  Continue reading

Fre’e’-learning: the liberating effects of remote education

Senior Ryan McGovern e-learned from his house in Wisconsin earlier this year. The new schedule and online classes allowed for more relaxation time by the lake. (Photo courtesy Ryan McGovern)

By Siveen McCarthy, Features Writer

Although downsides of e-learning such as lack of engagement and technological struggles are evident, students at Maine South have come to recognize some positives that go along with remote learning. Whether it be e-learning from on vacation, going out to lunch during the school day, or changes in sleep schedule, students have unexpectedly been granted new freedoms. 

Senior Ryan McGovern has taken advantage of the new flexibility of remote learning by changing his scenery. Continue reading

Construction at South progresses despite pandemic

Photo illustration by Millie Diaz/Photos by Emma Crosson

As Maine South in-person instruction came to a halt last year, the construction work continued full steam ahead. With the building vacant, several improvements were made to each part of the school that students will be able to enjoy as in-person learning continues. Southwords got a behind-the-scenes view of our new and improved school, including renovations in the A-wing, the new B-wing, C-wing, V-wing, and athletic departments.  Continue reading

Google Meet-bombing incidents affirm the need to address racial inclusivity

By Lily Niziolek and Elizabeth Ryser, Features Editors

Over the last few months, issues of racism have taken center stage, as events like the killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd have provided evidence of systemic racism in America. To address this major concern in our society, schools like Maine South have been working to increase inclusivity. With the implementation of virtual classes, however, video conferencing inadvertently opened the doors to some of the societal injustices that the school seeks to protect students from.

Illustration by Isabel Gibson

Within the first week of school, there were multiple instances of “Zoom-bombing,” where uninvited people gained access to remote class meetings. Some of these intrusions included racially discriminatory language, leaving teachers scrambling to provide a more secure learning environment. Continue reading

Remote learning environment poses new challenges for Maine South students

Senior Tara Murphy prepares a mock grocery store lesson for her Special Education students. Unable to go on typical field trips this year, the Special Education department has to be creative when it comes to lesson planning. (Photo by Natalia Kuppers)

By Amalia Laskaris and Kristen Meyer, Editors-in-chief

In each of the past four years, Maine South has implemented a different daily schedule with high aspirations that students would reap the benefits of these changes. This year is no different with the virtual learning schedule. Beginning with a shortened eight-period Monday schedule, and continuing with a four-period block schedule Tuesday through Friday, students spend their whole week in the online learning environment. 

“I find it more difficult to understand what I am being taught during e-learning, but it gets even harder when I face Wi-Fi difficulties,” senior Cailee Oslowski said. “It makes me feel even more stressed and confused since all my attention is fixed on trying to fix the Wi-Fi.” Continue reading

Spring sports are canceled, but athletics continue

Senior Liliana D’Alesio now trains alone due to social distancing. Even though her spring soccer season was canceled, exercise gives her some much-needed time outdoors. (Photo by Charlotte Geier)

By Tyler Houck & Amalia Laskaris, Sports Editors

The spring sports season across the state of Illinois has now officially been canceled, making the fears of thousands of students since early March a reality. Following the governor’s announcement canceling school for the remainder of the school year, the IHSA board of directors canceled all spring sports state tournaments. 

Although many athletes and coaches feared this result as soon as stay-at-home orders took place in Illinois, a majority of Maine South athletes have continued to train independently whenever possible.  Continue reading

Juniors face new challenges as college approaches

(Photo by Emma Crosson)

By Emma Crosson, News Editor

While all high school students are currently dealing with the consequences of COVID-19, between e-learning, cancellations of standardized tests, and approaching college applications, juniors in particular are feeling the academic repercussions of the virus.  Continue reading

Social distancing yields creative ways to socialize

While students can’t physically be close to one another, Senior Sean Yesko and his friends park in a circle in an empty lot to socialize while maintaining social distance. This particular circle was a get-together to celebrate Yesko’s birthday. (Photo courtesy Sean Yesko)

By Charlotte Geier, Editor-in-Chief

When social distancing orders were given in the middle of March, students and staff alike jumped right into the routine of Zoom calls and e-learning assignments. While education continues outside of the school walls, students and staff have had to find creative ways to remain connected in person—while six feet apart—with friends and family.  Continue reading